The Sacred Scriptures share a story of Peter walking on water toward Jesus. He steps out of the boat and walks on water but grows fearful and begins to sink. It is easy for us to sit back and criticize his lack of faith, but at least he stepped out of the boat. How many of us have refused to even get out of the boat and take that step in faith?
In 2018, Fr. Bill Peckman wrote a post on social media which summarized the scandal in the Church. He asked, "Why is there scandal in the Church?" He then answered his own question. "One answer: We took our eyes off Christ. Like Peter walking on the water, when we take our eyes off Christ, we sink."
My dear people, I want to encourage you to walk in faith. Keep your focus on Jesus. Do not let the scandals of our country and our Church divert your attention from Christ.
When Jesus bids you to "Come," respond with deep faith even if you do not understand the calling. Faith is simply taking that next step toward Christ.
We, who have assumed roles of leadership within the Church (both clerical and lay), are responsible for shepherding God's people well. Unfortunately, there are many examples of us not living up to our responsibilities. Do not let our human failures to be effective leaders take your focus off of Christ.
I have now been a deacon for over 21 years. The ordination ceremony still sticks in my mind when Archbishop (Cardinal) Rigali handed me the Book of the Gospels and said, "Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you now are. Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach." That responsibility has weighed upon me ever since. Pray for me. Pray that I keep my eyes fixed on Christ.
Pray for all of the clergy. Pray that we are people of supernatural faith. Pray that we have the courage to teach the Truth with clarity and authority. Pray that we never water down the Gospel simply to make it more palatable.
Also, spend some time this weekend giving thanks for the people in your life who have led you closer to Christ. Say a prayer for them in gratitude.
"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"